Friday, February 27, 2009

What is Man that the Genome is Mindful of Him? (2.27.10)

This is what I call a "Jeopardy post." That is, every once in awhile the title for a post is given to me before the content. In order to win, I have to supply the post for the title. It's a little game Petey likes to play with me.

The first thought that occurs to me is that I wish I could remember the details of Wolfgang Smith's books, e.g., The Quantum Enigma or Cosmos and Transcendence. Somewhere in there he talks about the distinction between the corporeal world -- i.e., the real human world -- vs. the merely physical world that is abstracted from the former.

Ah ha! I'm actually thinking of this book, The Wisdom of Ancient Cosmology. The corporeal universe is "the world to which human sense perception gives access. And this is indeed our world; the world in which we find ourselves. This corporeal universe, moreover, is in fact the only objective world which our human faculties -- sensory and mental -- allow us to know."

In contrast, the physical universe is the "described universe," as seen through the lenses of our abstract descriptions. It is at least once removed from the corporeal world, and is irreducibly subjective.

Take, for example, the subatomic world: is it composed of waves or particles? It all depends upon how we look at it, or the questions we ask. Science is merely a systematic way to interrogate nature, so nature, like any good witness, will give its answers in conformity to the question.

Or, you could say that a scientific theory is like a net that we cast out over the ocean of being. It will catch certain facts, while others will either slip through the net or tear it to shreds. And others facts are swimming so deep below or above the surface, that the net can't extend that far.

I see that Smith says what amounts to the same thing: "The physicist, it turns out, is not simply an observer, but a creator of secondary realities: he observes by creating, one could almost say."

However, this is not creation ex nihilo; it doesn't mean, as many new agers suggest, that the world is somehow entirely subjective, and that we "create reality" through perception. Rather, it is a much more subtle process, which I believe is most adequately described by Michael Polanyi, in particular, by his theory of tacit knowing and the distinction between subsidiary and focal knowledge.

Timelessness doesn't permit a full evasion, but Polanyi beautifully explains how scientific progress is only possible because of the human ability to simultaneously discover and create the world.

It sounds paradoxical, but it really isn't. Our scientific abstractions are analogous to the cane of a blind man, which he uses to "probe the dark" and construct a model of his surroundings. In so doing, where is the reality, in the solid matter touched by the cane, or the model he tacitly constructs in his head? Obviously it's a kind of dialectic, an ongoing interaction between the two.

However, does this mean there are two worlds, or that our corporeal world is somehow an "effect" of the physical world? Think about it. Physicists describe a subatomic world that is shockingly different than the corporeal world, so much so that it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how they relate.

But the problem is only a result of a reductionism that inverts the cosmos and conflates the physical and corporeal worlds -- as if the quantum world is corporeal and not simply an abstraction. But "all knowledge of the external world begins in the perceptible realm: deny the perceptible object, and nothing external remains.... Contrary to what we have been taught in schools and universities, real tables are not 'made of molecules'" (Smith). No one can actually surf on a wave function, any more than you can see the smile of a Cheshire cat or chick after they've split.

Now, what goes for physics goes for biology. Obviously, Darwinism does not explain man; rather, I think we can all agree that man explains Darwinism. That much is self-evident, except perhaps to metaphysical Darwinians, who put the genetic cart before the organismic horse, i.e., the physical before the corporeal. Humans are no more "made of genes" than this table is "made of atoms" or my consciousness is "made of neurons." Ironically, consciousness is not just "part" of the corporeal world, but its very essence, for what could be more concrete than your own being?

Once we invert the cosmos and reinstate our proper orientation, we understand its Reason. As DeKoninck writes, "The being in which resides the end of the cosmos must be both immobile and cosmic; both spirit and matter must be found in it, its essence must be composed of a spiritual principle which integrates the cosmos."

Thus, "Man is manifestly the raison d'être of the whole of nature," the "end of all possible natural forms." Indeed, "every natural form tends toward man." Furthermore, "nature could not be ordered to God except through man. God being the end of the universe, it is necessary that the universe be capable of a return to its Universal Principle. But only an intellectual creature is capable of such a return.... In other words, only a creature capable of making a tour of being can return to the source of being" (emphasis mine).

And for those of you who still don't understand why the c♀♂nifestʘ had to have the trippy circular structure, that is why, for life is a round trip and a round trip.

Life is the meaning of matter, that to which matter points and converges upon. Similarly, Mind is the meaning of Life, that to which it points. And now we realize the meaning of our very existence, that to which it has always been pointing and converging upon: the Unity of Reality. Once again, by turning the cosmos upside down, ultimate meaning is found not at its material base but its immaterial summit.... Only then do we find out what we are made of -- a Divine substance that has returned to itSelf, even though it never really left in the first place. --I


Anonymous said...

Lo, there do I see my father.

Lo, there do I see my mother,
and my sisters, and my brothers.

Lo, there do I see the line of my people,
Back to the beginning!

Lo, they do call to me.

They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!

Where the brave may live


Anonymous said...

Bob Said,

"And for those of you who still don't understand why the cʘʘnifesto just had to be circular, that is why."

in boiling the egg, the yolk/yoke seems as uncentered. yet, it is centered. the distance from the yolk to the farthest surface of inner shell is equal to the distance from yolk to the closest surface of inner shell.

to the eyes this seems untrue.

yet, in finding our visuality in the EMS, we look one way and the distance is short, the other way the distance is long.

yet, one way is drawn out and up loosely, the other drawn tightly in and close.

mindful to that, the egg is of course circular, yet it is egg shaped.

thus, the 'festo-vities' by any name is as an egg bound Function, and we in it are centered as is an egg's yolk/yoke.

this relative to the cross, whereupon the horizontal member of 'wisdom' is higher than center upon the verticle member of 'law'. that's not to mention that part below sight within the 'ground' grounding.

this commands one to re-examine and determine 'center'. which dwells higher than math in the addition (plus sign) of all in all.

being centered as such, unconscious of right and left, we deem the unknown with irrelevant fear. just as we misjudge the citys of sodom and gomorrah from man's having dishonored the intent of said cities.

and, getting our up-comence as it were/is, these two capa-citys angelically/funtionally removed from our perspective, where our 'lot' could not look back upon, as they guarded by said angelicals/functionals.

the functions within the Function. "access denied".

till a time designated for renewal arrives. if not NOW, when?


James said...

Part of this process is learning to be simple and not obtuse. It is unlearning everything I learned in college were word count was more important then clarity. The paradoxes of the universe stand alone and self-evident without being cluttered up with excess words. That's a gift, or I'm plugged in to enough grace that understanding is possible. Great Post Bob.
wv binge Or I'm on an O binge.

NoMo said...

The psalmist:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet” (8:4-6)

Indeed, man is not subject to material, material is subject to man. Inversion IS the Lie, its core nature and strategy.

Anonymous said...

ahhhh...can one deny the body human of it's 80%+ of water.

same as one of man declaring no need for word.

water is word is infinitum.

it is not to deny word for feet first confusions sake (breech). it is to turn the word/body of words/water on their asses for fusions sake in the rebirth.

the beautific vision speaks from its own accord, as we have spoken in accord to our individuated selves.

yet, this friction/antagonism has ever been warranted in the scheme of wombful preparatory things.

and has served to dispell the clouded plug of our unknowing to reveal the knowing not from self, the light at the end of the tunnel.

thus, the babbleling from babel comes upon itself in reprisal of an original language shared by all in all.

motion begets repose. they two lovers having seemingly quarreled.

yet, never divorced, as one who would silently object to 'word' while thirsting for water.

as said in another thread, "you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink".

sing out loud

sing, sang, song, sung

does not a love song break the heart in its hearing.

the only thing cluttering is the self-formed thoughts collected aroung the gift of word in construction of webs choking the life out of it's flow.

own yourself and leave words out of it, letting them speak for you and not against you in your thoughtful death grip upon the conduit that quenches.

grace would have one under-stand, but it is grace's mercy that would have one let go of control and rest in Peace.


Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"But only an intellectual creature is capable of such a return.... In other words, only a creature capable of making a tour of being can return to the source of being" (emphasis mine)

Good post, Bob. Petey has given you a fruitful prompt.

However, assertions about the spiritual incapacity of animals are unsupportable; I'm surprised you'd put that out there.

Intellect is just not "all that." It is basically a tool much like a PC. By itself it has limited spiritual capacity.

Probably what you mean is an advanced faculty of intuition, which cannot be said to be absent in animals.

Behind the eyes of a dog the holy Mother may be flooding its scnnty neurons with input; we just do not know.

An infant soul in an amimal body may well be promoted to a human body after getting what it needs in animal bodies from one life to the next.

This is intuitively probably correct because we instinctively know what has soul in it and we know it is in animals. Anyone who is not "blinded" by some kind of intellectual predjudice is aware of this.

To put it even more "stupidly" (or absent the intellect), probably even inanimate objects and plants have some quantum of soul power and are capable of advancement. It's just something we can feel and know to be true. Can you feel it?

Humans revere animals, including raccoons, and is not because of their spiritual incapacity but probably just the opposite.

Let your furry brothers have their due; putting humanity on some kind of sky high pedastal is idolatory of the intellect and is a wrong movement.

On the other hand, if you meant capabiilty of spiritual return within the bounds of the current life (in other words, are we closer to the goal?) then you of course are correct and then we don't have any difference of opinion. Humans are within striking distance of the goal within one lifetime and if that makes us "special" then so be it.

But it aint that special.

Cousin Dupree said...

That's a truly goofy point. Bob didn't put man on a pedestal, God did, so it cannot be idolatry. Animals and men occupy entirely different niches in the cosmic hierarchy.

I will agree, however, that your intellect is not "all that."

Alan said...

"Or, you could say that a scientific theory is like a net that we cast out over the ocean of being. It will catch certain facts, while others will either slip through the net or tear it to shreds. And others facts are swimming so deep below or above the surface, that the net can't extend that far."

This is how I pictured the main points of Polanyi - with the addition that we are standing on an island (our tacit understanding) which may or may not be solid.

Another thought - the physical vs. the corporeal may also be an analogy to the difference Orthodox Christians see with western Christians - we are too caught up in the ideas of God (our theology) vs the experience of God (their theology) - to be correct, the experience of the energies of God.

Aside: I see from the pneu Pneumaticʘʘns when entering a comment that I have to reread OC to pass a test!

Stu said...

The "animal soul" may disclose or manifest aspects of the human soul, but it is not a complete soul in itself.

For instance, the soul of an eagle may symbolize freedom, or the soul of a lion might reveal something about nobility and courage.

But animals do not possess complete souls in the same way that humans or nations do.

The animal soul, points to something higher than itself -- namely, the archetypes -- much in the same way that human soul points to God.

But the animal soul is entirely posterior to and dependant on the human subject to interpret the meaning that it reveals. It is not free.

The animal soul will always be an object pointing to that which is higher, but the human soul is both fully a subject in and of itself and an object that points to God.

Or as Bob has put it many, many times, there is an infinite ontological gap between animal and man.

Warren said...

"Man is manifestly the raison d'être of the whole of nature"

Right. Which is why Christ's sacrifice redeems not just the human race, but all of creation. (Even though this idea is clearly spelled out in the New Testament, I run into a lot of Christians who don't seem to understand or even know about it.)

This is also why, in my opinion, only Christianity is entitled to be called a "humanism". The term "Christian humanism" is correct, though redundant. Terms such as "secular humanism", or "Muslim humanism", or even "Buddhist humanism", are oxymorons.

Gagdad Bob said...

"All of the perversions that human freedom can inflict upon being and its qualities always aim at one thing: the annihilation of the depth dimension of being.... The formula 'A is nothing other than...' typifies this perversion, whatever the transcendental it affects. It is much rather the case that A is always 'something other than...'" --Balthasar

Anonymous said...

there is a council round about staring at a seat without.

that seat empty only in that Man not knowing does not see Himself.

the council formed await re-cognition that they - the entire creaturely world are but characteristics borne of His powers of mentation.


the soul of human kind is the same soul of creaturely being -man included.

The Aesops have had it in their eyes having spoken. though mankind's conduct in recognition failed to see.

A Cistercian Catholic Monk of a 103years told me of his first Priestly Mission to the Phillipines to take God to these savages.

There he says he found God already there innocently bound within a childlike people non-binded in laws.

There he says was heaven and earth in the balance.

later service took him aaway, back to the world of ungodly pro-portions.

he says there came a time for his hermitage and he returned some years later to these same childlike people.

there they remembered him after so long. and there they kept his fire and food for 4 years while he slept from the godless world on a mountain side.

pride is not a human trait, though man of his forgotten self holds tight to it.

though we pine, yearn, to re-member, it is inglorious in our re-turn to maintain what is not ours in our o-pining to hold gloriously.

a tool tooling is as a fool fooling. to think such as heaven and such as earth were never one and the same.

a man gropes and humanly is grasped in the writing of it as seen not by him, but by seeing him in it. One Cosmos

in addition to forethought given, is afterthought of 1200+ posts bringing his a-breast to their Mothering Mother.

so many intellectually binding what is unboundedly written.

there is only this one two part law. add to it and you add to the binding of yourself.

Love one another as you would have yourself loved.

Man is more than bred, and humanly greater than the sum of his parts.

thee wed with water turned to wine. intoxicated by the word pressed so. alas, the time of matrimonial disharmony of two becoming as one is arriving.

Marriage having turned the wine back into water.


Cousin Dupree said...


Tighten up that loose sh*t. Brevity is the soul of levity.

Anonymous said...

"There is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead." Michel de Montaigne

idle observer said...

but so many men seem to enjoy it, nonetheless. i'm guessing most women prefer it that way, too...

River Cocytus said...

It then would be logical that through his gestation, man would encompass the forms of pretty much everything below him - which he does. It is possible that everything that was treated as 'evidence for evolution' in the past century in a half will become evidence against Darwinism.

julie said...

Oh, gestation. When I first read that, Riv, my brain translated it as digestion. Which still makes your point. Well, the first part, anyway. Looked at that way, it makes sense that we are omnivores.

julie said...

Am I mistaken to assume that "digestion" and "gestation" share the same root, by the way? Anyone? (Yes, I am too lazy to look it up myself right now.)

julie said...

What about "levity" and "leaven?"

jwm said...

Julie said:
What about "levity" and "leaven?"

Not to mention Levitz, where you can get a cool deal on a recliner. Essential for high quality slack.

wv:gooflazi (so. yes, I am a lazy goof)


jwm said...

On a slightly less serious note-

Stu: That was a great comment!

Any of us who has a cat or a dog can witness something of growth in their little souls. A well loved pet exhibits behaviors that can only be described as further evolved than those of a feral animal. And those behaviors are pretty hard to reduce to raw adaptions for gaining food.


Chief Brodie said...

It’s only an island if you look at it from the ocean.

Chief Brodie said...

I’mmtha chieffuff puleess.
I candowhudI want.

walt said...

Julie -

Digested is derived from Latin digerere, i.e. di = "apart" plus gerere = "carry".

Gestation is from Latin gestatio, i.e. gestare = "carry in the womb" derived from gerere = "carry"

Ricky Raccoon said...

The(↓)above the pinhole of our humanness, is so overwhelming, it must spill over to our little buddies.

Ricky Raccoon said...

That was for JWM..

Anonymous said...

Cousin Dupree,

point taken. yes, exploratory redundancy the sign of madness missing the levity.

This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

Anon: Noble Son

Aninymouse said...


julie said...

For something both shorter and funnier, Mel Gibson is The Colonel.

Tag heuer it said...

Dear complaints department:

I only saw one "Darwin" in the whole cursory reading. C'mon Baaah!b. You're off your game. The Darwinians only need one small lapse in vigilance to transmogrify from villains into math teachers. Evolve with the program, or speed up the inlightenment.

wv: froste.
Slow down, playa. I just got here.